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Thread: Advice on Lee Filters

  1. #1
    Ausphotography Regular Brian500au's Avatar
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    Advice on Lee Filters

    I am about to jump in the deep end and purchase a Lee filter system.

    Being relatively an inexperienced landscape photographer I am in two minds about the two options.

    1. Buy a set of three hard and soft grad ND filter sets at $260 a set or
    2. Buy one .6 soft and one .6 hard grad ND filter at $108 each and add more if and when I need them.


    The second option is the more expensive depending on how many I would need to add ($108 vs $86 per filter).

    Although I can afford both options I don't want to be paying for filters that will seldom be used.

    Anybody care to offer some advice.
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    Member Ged's Avatar
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    This is always dependent on the type of landscapes that you are shooting and the time of day. If you are shooting landscapes that have a fairly level horizon then the hard grads are ideal. This is also the case where the sun is low on the horizon. You need to lower the soft grad below the horizon to compensate. I tend to use soft grad for uneven horizons and shots that are not directly into the sun

    If you can afford the set I would get the set. It will save you money and give you greater versatility.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I ended up regretting getting the 3 soft grad (foundation?) kit .... even tho it sounded like a more economical way to get them.

    But this isn't to say that you'll find that you have the same usage pattern.

    For my preference where I tend to do more level horizon landscapes .. I use the filters reversed(relative to each other) to create a semi useful psuedo reverse grad filter setup.
    it's more convoluted than getting a proper reverse grad filter .. but have you seen the cost of reverse grads!

    With my larger HiTech filters tho .. I did, what I think, is the right thing and got them in the types I thought I'd use more frequently.
    Now that I got it all working with my UWA lens, I just need one more 0.3 soft grad for the larger Hitech filters.
    Maybe one day if I win Tatts, I may have enough money to get a reverse grad(to make life easier in those circumstances).

    Having one hard grad can be useful in some situations, even tho in most conditions, soft grad filters tend to be more useful.
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    Thank you Arthur and Ged for your comments. There is so much information on the internet but I am afraid there is very little agreement on which filters to start a kit with. I have decided to start with the Lee big stopper and both a .6 soft and hard ND grad. I have also added a CPL filter (the most expensive part of the kit).


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    Ausphotography Regular basketballfreak6's Avatar
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    sorry i might be a bit late to the party but my experience with the grads is always go for strongest grad, i shoot mostly sunrise/set and i have a lee 3 stop grad soft and singh ray 4 stop reverse grad and there are times i find the 4 stop was not enough, i will definitely be looking into getting some lower strength grads later down the line (after lee's cpl and small/big stopper) but only reason is for stacking when my stronger ones are not enough on their own

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    One thing to remember with the use of light modifying filter such as grads(or polarisers, or whatever) .. it's not just a matter of getting the correct balance spot on every time.
    One major use I have for them is to get the light difference(ie. dynamic range) closer to that for the camera to capture in a single exposure.

    I agree with BB's comment that in general you'll be using the highest strength filter more often, as you'll probably find that you want to reduce the highlights area by about 5 stops, or even more closer to the shadows exposure level.
    But a three stop grad, used in such a scenario(5stops difference between highlight and shadows) still works, as you will be shooting raw. The other two stops of difference can be made for in PP.
    2 stop recovery of shadows in almost any modern raw file is easy peasy to do .. and 1 stop recovery in the highlights is also easy to get back too.

    What the filter really does is not just balance the light differences perfectly(although this is the ideal situation you want to achieve!) .. it's just helps you balance just enough to get the shot in one go!

    Hope that helps too.

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    I have the set of 3 soft grads and use them all the time.
    Odille

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